Staff in both licensed and BYO restaurants have responsibilities in minimising alcohol related harm through the way liquor is served and consumed on their premises.
While there are greater legal obligations applying to a licensed restaurant, BYO restaurants also have obligations under the NSW liquor laws and it is in their interests to ensure they operate responsibly.
In NSW it is illegal for a person to supply liquor to a minor in a BYO restaurant. This applies to staff and patrons unless the person is the parent or the guardian of the minor. The maximum penalty is $11,000 and / or 12 months imprisonment in aggravated circumstances.
It is illegal for a minor to drink liquor in a BYO restaurant (unless authorised by their accompanying parent / guardian). The maximum penalty is $2,200.
Operators of BYO restaurants can face the same underage drinking issues as operators of licensed venues, particularly as BYO restaurants are often a popular and cheap place for minors to socialise with their family and friends.
Towards the end of the school year, BYO restaurants often host school formals and sporting group functions that minors attend. Where functions involving large groups of young people are at a BYO restaurant, all safeguards should be in place to prevent minors obtaining liquor on the premises.
One of the key strategies is to request proof of age of young people before they are allowed to consume liquor. Under the liquor laws the following forms of prescribed evidence of age can be checked to verify a young person is over 18:
- current driver licence
- passport, and
- Photo Card (issued by the RTA).
Responsible service of alcohol training, which is required to be undertaken by operators and staff of licensed restaurants, helps to increase awareness of the laws applying to minors and alcohol. This training is also suitable for those working in BYO restaurants to help gain an appreciation of the liquor laws and the strategies that can be used to minimise liquor abuse problems.